ISIS IN ACTION
On 21 August, two individuals were tried on terror charges in Tripoli after alleged involvement in a series of attacks in the capital, including the assault on the Corinthia Hotel in January 2015, in which nine people were killed. The defendants have not been named and it is unclear how they came to be detained. They are reportedly being held by the Special Deterrence Force (Rada). At the time of the Corinthia attack, a social media site linked to ISIS said that it had carried out the attack, identifying the two attackers as a Tunisian and a Sudanese. Their noms de guerres were Abu Ibraheem al-Tunisi and Abu Sulaiman al-Sudani respectively. They were supposedly members of “Abu Anas al-Libi Assault.”
On 19 August, Government of National Accord (GNA) deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Metig visited Sirte. However, pro-ISIS media accounts released images of the armed convoy escorting Metig captioned, “today, under the lens of our sniper”. The GNA-aligned al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) forces also published a video showing the backdrop used in a couple of ISIS videos recorded in Sirte. On 17 August, the Misratan counter-terror branch of BM released two promotional trailers of upcoming ‘confessions’ by Libyan ISIS fighters captured during fighting between BM and ISIS, though it is not clear how recently they were captured. One of the alleged ISIS fighters is Islam Ahmed Beleid al-Mahdawi, another is Muftah Attia Bushnaf al-Khafifi.
The new UN Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, visited all of Libya’s main power-broker cities on a one-week tour throughout the country, including Tripoli, Misrata, Zintan, as well as Benghazi. ( Government of National Accord (GNA) Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj has yet to visit the city in his capacity at present). He met with Serraj and High Council of State (HCS) leader Abdurrahman Swehli in Tripoli, and House of Representatives (HoR) president Ageelah Saleh in Tobruk.
In Misrata, the al-Bunyan al-Marsus (BM) military coalition declared their full commitment to the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) and denounced others using the BM to spoil the political process. On 16 August, the Misrata Municipal Council made a statement criticising the Misratan delegation including BM figures and a member of the municipal council, Abu Bakr al-Harish, that travelled to Qatar on 12 August—without coordinating with the other council members. It is reported that the delegation sought and reportedly received official Qatari support outside of the LPA framework. The Libyan National Army (LNA) also issued a statement indirectly denouncing the Qatar trip and ordering all military staff to refrain from any visits without official directives.
On 19 August, president of the House of Representatives (HoR) Ageelah Saleh arrived in Jordan for a three-day visit and meetings with various Jordanian dignitaries, including King Abdullah. It is reported that on 20 August, King Abdullah told Saleh that the only way to bring peace to Libya is to have effective dialogue across the whole political spectrum. Jordan’s Prime Minister Hani al-Malaki said Amman supported peaceful and political solutions to all crises in the region and rejected military solutions to conflicts. Saleh has previously criticized Jordan for inviting Serraj as the Libyan representative to the Arab League when his position has not been approved by the HoR.
On 21 August, the foreign ministers of Russia and Egypt met and reportedly reaffirmed the need for stronger inclusiveness of all Libyan parties for a political reconciliation within the LPA framework.
This article was republished with explicit permission from the author.